After 9 people were shot dead by a white man at a historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, USA, many of the relatives of the victims have issued statements of forgiveness.
In a remarkable moment of courtroom drama, some of the relatives at the Charleston African Methodist Church spoke directly to Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old animal who murdered their loved ones. While he stared impassively ahead, one by one they told him that they forgive him.
The murderer has yet to repent for his sins, but relatives found so much peace in their hearts to express various degrees of God’s forgiveness for him.
Unquestionably this unbelievable scenario seems to stem from a Christian conviction of forgiveness.
Hence, this begs the question: what is forgiveness and why forgive? Can we forgive people who are not sorry? Can we forgive people who do not ask for forgiveness?
This is possibly why the concept of forgiveness, from its Christian interpretation should be examined against this incident of White Terrorism.
And this is also why the expressed forgiveness granted by the relatives of the victims of this animal must be put in its rightful perspective.
The horror committed by Dylann Roof is just a drop in the ocean of the over 400 years of terrorism that African Americans have endured at the hands of the USA white populace, the Federal government and US law enforcement.
From Slavery, Jim Crow and the Mass Incarceration of African Americans, the US is notorious for its Nazi-like regime implemented down from the Federal level to the local ones in terrorizing the daily lives of innocent African Americans.
It is in this light that this massacre at the AME Church must be examined.
Most African Americans identify as Christians, although this is doubly ironic, since slave-owning America itself was predominantly Christian, and most White Terrorist organizations in the US also identify as part of the Lord’s Army.
The US Armed Forces has very much also invariably, more than any other fighting force in the world, branded itself as an Army of Christ gallivanting the planet to enforce the Lord’s order.
Even with this Biblical lived experiences of African Americans and their terrorists in the US, it is still a complex and utterly stupefying matter when relatives of the victims who were just shot and killed by this white terrorist, declare in public, their forgiveness for a man who still remains defiant in his believes that Black people are “raping” white women and “taking over” his country.
To understand why the relatives, who are Christians, believe this is the Godly thing to do, we must acknowledge their Biblical conundrum.
According to the Bible, which Christians tend to believe is actually the Word of God, no one can go to Heaven, after they are dead, except they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal savior.
There are various renditions of this doctrine in every Christian denomination, but the underlying principle remains that until God has forgiven anyone of their sins through Jesus, the Christ, there can be no salvation.
Out of this Savior trope arises the question of how this forgiveness happens. Does the Savior, God or Christ, randomly forgive or do people ask for forgiveness?
There is perhaps very little debate on this issue. Generally, Christians around the globe are resolute in the belief that a person must first ask for forgiveness otherwise he remains unforgiven.
That is how my Sunday School teacher, when I was only but 12 years of age, was able to scare me away from the Church, forever by the way, when she defiantly insisted that since my grandfather did not accept Jesus as his Lord and personal savior, and asked for the forgiveness of his sins, he remained unforgiven and bound for an eternal life in Hell.
Of course after I left the Church, my grandmother consoled me and assured me that church people spew utter nonsense.
Are these relatives of these 9 victims, who were murdered by a white terrorist youth, spewing just as much nonsense in stating that they, without repentance, and even without the presence of God – he’s still missing since the shooting – forgive this animal?
Let us for argument sake pretend that Dylann Roof, the animal who killed 9 African Americans at the AME Church believes in the same nonsense.
Wouldn’t he have to repent and ask God for forgiveness before that salvation can be granted?
Or can the relatives, who cowardly gallivant around white media outlets issue a forgiveness warrant to a white terrorist who hasn’t yet asked Jesus Christ into his life?
Does God, if you believe he is the father of Jesus Christ, grant forgiveness to such an animal, who just killed 9 human beings and is still unrepentant about it?
The chord that relatives of the victims of the massacre at the African Methodist Episcopal Church strike around the world is not one of an understanding of their own predicament.
These relatives in their quest to look godly on television or force a peaceful makeover of the blight of American racism in the US and around the world, stoke a worry around the globe of a people who do not take seriously the value of their own lives nor the meaning of the Christian doctrine surrounding forgiveness.
The victims of this massacre deserve better relatives who can be and should be utterly angry with the animal who is Dylann Roof. They ought to ask for the death penalty for him! They ought to denounce and preach against all acts of White Terrorism in America and around the world instead of cowardly wading into the rhetoric of forgiveness for an unrepentant murderer.
These relatives are ridiculous and their chants on television about forgiveness fall short of the true Christian stipulation!
Why can’t these relatives wait until this animal is actually even sorry, maybe repents and probably asks for that forgiveness?